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Posts posted by VonNoble

  1. 13 hours ago, Rev. Calli said:

    Greetings to you my brother,


    To be perfectly honest, I don't think that there is any good answer.  In standard Wesleyan Theology, we believe in a concept called prevenient  Grace.  To simplify the concept, it is a view that God works on each of us to give us a longing to be in a relationship with God, much as we very often long to be in a close relationship with others, be it parents, friends, lovers, etc.  It is something that is ingrained in the very fabric of our being.  The thing is, this can be a very subtle feeling in a person.  It's like a very small, fragile seed in that it doesn't grow unless it is nurtured.  It's not always recognizable for what it really is, in that people will often interpret that longing as a desire for something else entirely, and spend their lives trying to fill that need in other ways.  Sex, power, drugs, money, people will pursue these things believing that the longing they feel will be satisfied by using or obtaining these things, but yet they still feel empty or lost.  


    Without the background to understand the nature of this longing for God, you cannot choose, as you don't know how to even begin to understand what you are longing for.  Even if you had grown up or in later years been exposed to people of faith, even if you had been thoroughly indoctrinated in a faith system, it is so very easy to misinterpret that longing for something to fill that need in your soul as a desire for something else.  


    But still, for many of us, be it luck, or a gift of some special insight from God, when we are confronted with the choice, God on one hand, of the things of this world on the other, we choose faith, as that is where we find real happiness and soul satisfaction.  


    So perhaps, it is a little of both.  It is God's offer to us, but up to us to recognize the offer and accept or reject as we see fit. 


    In solidarity,

    Rev. Calli




    I appreciate your candor.  It sounds like there is no definitive answer. 

    You were able to make an adaptation (appreciation) of a relationship with a personal God - - - largely because you 

    understood that concept as an option since infancy - maybe?


    For someone not raised understanding quite that way - the leap to joining that understanding may be far harder than it 

    appears (and as mererdog) noted - not a viable option - - - or not an option that one just easily chooses - there is a bunch of groundwork that would need to happen to lay a foundation before that is even possible ....perhaps....


    It is helpful to sort of winnow out the more extreme views to find that the disconnect is certainly more than choices of words.   Then again - it may be more understandable than the start of the thread...so the contributions of all points of view may be building a partial bridge.  Maybe



    Thanks again for your input. 


  2. 13 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:


    We are entering dangerous ground here.  My response is going to offend people.  That is sad.  Still, you did ask and I wish to be honest with my response.  No doubt, meredog will wish to call me on how I have responded to Dan, when I reacted badly to his statement on Agnostics.  Dan may also wish to respond with similar observations.  I expect it.  


    I regard faith as something to be outgrown.  Like Santa.  Like an invisible friend.


    When we are young children, it is common to have an invisible friend.  In a five year old this is cute.  In an adult -- not so much.  For an adult, God is that invisible friend.  What is even sadder is when that same adult has an invisible enemy.  That would be the Devil.  Most young children do not ask strangers to talk to their invisible friend -- or fear their invisible enemy.  The Evangelicals do.


    Young children are trained by their parents and by society to believe in Santa.  What do we know about Santa?  He's an old man with a beard, who flies around the sky, in the company of magic flying creatures.  It sounds a lot like God and his angels.


    What else do we know about Santa?  We know by singing his songs as children.


    "He's making a list -- checking it twice -- he always knows who's naughty or nice ................"


    "He knows when you are sleeping.  He knows when you're awake.  He knows when you've been bad or good............"


    What does this give us?  The old man in the sky is watching everything we do.  He knows when we are sleeping and when we are active.  He keeps lists of the good and the bad.  He rewards the good and punishes the bad.  God in miniature.  Children outgrow Santa.  God lingers on in the adult mind.


    No.  Faith is not a gift.  It is a developmental problem.  IMO.



    Hopefully, YOUR beliefs  - which are due to receive RESPECT AND FAIRNESS as all others....will be 

    able to pass without anyone needing to try and dissuade you of them. 


    I am wondering....if you are correct....is it possible that the differing points of view start in childhood?

    Seriously.  I am wondering.    For example - you emerged early feeling it was OKAY to try other things.

     Rev. Calli felt compelled not too try other things initially.      


    I was ENCOURAGED to go forth and try it all.   :lol:


    is part of the view of seeing it "as a gift" versus - the results of a long journey NECESSARY to find THE BEST

    match......could that be a fulcrum.   


    Those who see it as a choice - - - come from a point a view that colors their point of view?

    Like Jews staying (initially)  in six or whatever number of denominations of Judaism?

    Or Christians bouncing back and forth largely within the confines of Christianity?    (Either they stay in that general

    area - - -or they leave all religion - then bounce back to Christianity once again? )

    ....that is NOT any sort of condemnation - but a curiosity.


    You know - - - - "go with what you know" - - - - stay somewhat close to your comfort zone?

    It would make sense to do that. 


    People only seem to "cross over" to alternatives like Easter, native, New Age or whatever AFTER experimenting in the fields closest

    to home for a good long while.   Maybe. 


    I am sure there are some who would say NO!  That is not true because I (they) did it differently - -but I am sort of thinking

    most stay close to their base.  Try it for awhile.  Leave it as young adults maybe?  - go back to something similar to what they knew as kids. 


    Maybe it far more difficult to REALLY throw it all out and start fresh.....completely FRESH....to find an answer? 

    And in that process.....you rule out nothing...nothing is wrong or sinful or bad - until YOU YOURSELF invest the time to 

    opt in or out of things based on truth.  NOT persuasiveness, not rhetoric, not great socialization skills....but TRUTH. 

    That  might be an enormous investiture of time.     LOTS of work.  TONS of work.  Maybe the criteria for finally finding

    something that works is as varied as people?  Wiping out the basics foisted on you as a kid and heading out to allow

    any answer (including coming full circle) -  maybe that is not necessary for some...and the only way for others. 

    SURELY doing that would deepen existing beliefs tremendously as they would be forged and tested.    When I lived

    in PA...I seem to remember one of the sects (Amish or Mennonite) (one of those types) used to encourage the young

    people to go out in the world and see what is out there BEFORE committing to an adult life as part of the sect.  


    I don't know of too many other religions that ENCOURAGE exploration.   My one sibling who decided to follow my father

    into the world of Catholicism ......said she was taught it was a sin to question the churches teachings.  So maybe these

    growing pains begin early?   MY FATHER NEVER told us that - but she learned that in Catholic classes. 


    I have no idea where I am going with this -  - -  My mind has been wondering and wandering for days. 


    i am quite certain my current "beliefs" did evolve because of my discarding things that didn't work for me.

    So in that regard there were choices made.  But I sort of feel that process left me where I am without 

    choosing it.   It is is more a recognition of the big pile of stuff that didn't work over there.   So I am here 

    because of that.   I didn't CHOOSE it as an outcome - - - but i recognize for now - it is my location.


    When we were in our team assignment in Philosophy class - - our group of eight was told to gather in a circle and 

    go around the group picking a label connected to our spiritual beliefs.    My first response was WHY?

    Why do I have to choose a label?   None of them feels like a very good fit.    


    A Supreme Being was not forced into my world as a child.  So maybe that has influenced my view.   Self reliance was pushed far more than Supreme Being-ness at home.   


    Maybe all of that is part of the disconnect on this one. 


    Still working on it...


  3. 3 hours ago, Rev. Calli said:



    I entered this empty text box figuring it would trigger an alert to you ;).... but I am  far from a techno expert.... still a question if you will.  in keeping with this thread... in your view is “ belief” a matter of choice.    Is it “ gift from God”?

    Is it a process that happens over time?

    your thoughts?



  4. 1 hour ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:


    One more thought.  We keep getting told on this board that belief is a choice.  No.  It's not.  I was confronted by a real choice in life.  Did I want to live a lie?  Did I want to go on pretending to believe in God -- when clearly I did not?  Or did I want to live a life of honesty and integrity -- without a false front of pretend belief?  I went with integrity.  In the process, I lost my Hassidic friends.


    History repeats.  When I couldn't sustain my Buddhist practice -- I lost those friends.


    It was worth it.  I get to be me.  My life isn't much, but it's mine.  I'm not living a life of pious fraud.  That counts for a lot.  I think about these things when someone tells me that I should choose to believe.  You know.  Just in case that they're right.  What do I have to lose by believing?  I mean, besides my integrity.  My self respect.  My dignity.  My mind...........


    Of course, when I refuse to be intimidated by threats of Hell fire -- and state why -- I'm accused of persecuting those wonderful people, who only want to save me.  What really gets me is when I'm told to pray.  Like I never did.  Or I'm told to read the Bible.  Please.  I know more Bible than most Christians.  






    it is frustrating at times - in any situation when someone starts off with an immense pile of assumptions about any of us.    You have done well to be open to any and all "comers" to align ...with the best fit for you.  That is the ONLY thing any of us can do.   


    I have attempted  to force answers...so many times there would be no way to assess it - but is a bunch.  The long term thorn on the road is those who believe they MUST bring in converts.   No matter which religion - they are just over the top aggressive about it.   They start with the fact that they have all the answers and need to school the uniformed  - - - - and it is wearing.  


    The implication ...that I am less educated (not...not by a long shot most of the time) - less understanding of culture (eh no.....I have some decent credentials) - - I am ignorant of religion in general or of their religion in particular...that I am of course, unaware of the Scripture, or incapable of understanding it - all very wearing.   After a half century of hearing it - almost always the same tired and oft repeated stories......sooooooo canned....talking AT ME...and not listening TO ME.....- all of it feels VERY belittling.   It might help some - if they would ASK where I am at or how I got there before just assuming I am an ignorant lump awaiting their inspired message to assist me.   I surely do not have all the answers - obviously - I admit that often.  I also do not think that they cannot teach me.  I have found every person I meet teaches me something.  However often they are teaching one thing while saying another. 


    All of it can be troubling and frustrating.   And on any given day....anyone not respected long enough gets weary of it. (That is true of believers and non-believers alike) - -  all of us appreciate respect.   Even when we don't deserve it.   We know that too and are doubly grateful when it is extended to us....in spite of our "off" moments.   


    So you have my sympathy....and my respect.  


    The last bit of hurt when one is being poked -  is one I have had barbed at me often.   The assumption that I have done nothing to try and fully embrace things...that I just am not listening..hostile...stubborn....dumber than a rock...all of it is difficult to tolerate...ending with I could just choose differently.    I can and will - I reckon if anyone has something new to offer.    Been there  - heard that - lots of times ....seems rather rude and abrupt and not my style but there are moments when i want to say it.    Then again, I TRY to remember - respect is the watch word.    Even though this is the 50th time I have had this conversation in my life - for them - if they are in earnest - for them - - - - - they have a need to try.    They have no clue that we have heard it - - - tried - found it lacking and moved on.....for them - they believe they are offering the best gift they have.   Respecting that is a pretty great thing to try and offer - I do my best to listen.    How I behave matters.   So I try to at least muster respect - - initially.   And hope like hell they will return the favor.   


    So...you are not alone.   With the affronts ....or the frustration.    

    MANY, many, MANY church going people (or religious people)  are not like that.  They work on themselves and while available to assist ...they do not push their views or agendas.    They are that quietly live a great example.    They do not insist that non-believers are just lazy and not too bright.   They do not weaponize their sacred texts.  Thankfully there are a host of great believers out there - that don't tell me or you to pray....they quietly pray for peace between people....all people....     


     So many of us have walked a million miles to get to this point.   And will likely continue (as you noted .....as Rev. Calli noted) - it is ongoing).....


    And they  (the recruiter squads) ....they too may shift their beliefs over 50 or 60 years - it has been known to happen....once was this - now i am that..... 


    Since I - like you - know I did not CHOOSE my current location "on this journey" - it  is where I just ended up as other things were removed.   I walked where the truth was leading with no agenda and no predetermined label in mind.  Thankfully I didn't even have the younger years - "gotta-be-this or that" - from the family.  They threw the door wide open at birth.  So life experience was the teacher.    My mother's only advise - - - if it brings you peace - you can trust it.    If it causes angst, doubt and fear - move away.  


     I have no idea if this is the end of the journey- - -- but you know for sure - honesty and integrity are keys worth hanging on to...so peace to you - you know more than most how precious that is....




  5. 51 minutes ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:


    My religious development was not linear.  There was a lot of back and forth and sideways.  My family religion was Reform Jewish.  I started there.  Went through a period of Atheism.  God into Eastern Religion for a while.  When that wore off, I explored traditional Judaism.  I had a whole circle of Hassidic friends.  Overdosed on it.  Got serious about Reiki and Meditation which changed my sense of reality.  Did some serious Bible study -- did some serious prayer -- all very non-linear.........Was seriously into Pantheism for a while.  Some people on this board may remember my Pantheist days.


    Now, I'm Agnostic.  I don't believe.  I don't disbelieve.  I don't know.  The older I get, the less certain I am of what I understand.  Of course, when I was young, I knew it all.  



    Your  journey is far wider and deeper than many...


    Without a doubt you have learned/earned some balance in life with all that.


    i can relate.... the more I know ....the less certain I am ...often.


    Thanks very much.


  6. 1 hour ago, Rev. Calli said:

    Greetings to you all my sisters and brothers,


    While I have had my axe to grind with certain priests in the Catholic church, due to abuse that led me to abandon the church of my youth, that doesn't mean I do not respect and honor the vast majority of Catholics, both clergy, and laity who live out their understanding of the faith, especially those who have taken to heart Christ's commands to care for the poor, the sick and the outcasts.  


    Certainly, there are theological issues that keep me from embracing Catholicism as the faith path for myself, but that does not mean that others cannot with the greatest integrity accept it for themselves. 


    In solidarity,

    Rev. Calli

    Excellent outreach.... I appreciate your noting the positive.... thank you



  7. On 3/15/2018 at 11:07 AM, FredClaus said:

    St. Jude is not Catholic, nor are the affiliated with any organized religion.  Danny Thomas who founded St. Jude, was a Catholic however.  St. Jude was his personal saint so he named his hospital after him.

    I do believe the same. I don't care what religion you are, if you are a good person you get my respect.  My church hosts Lenten Lunches every year and all the churches in our town take a turn providing the meal and the talk.  We always start out with the Catholic church first then figure everyone else out later.  Each week no matter what church is providing the meal, it's always attended by all the churches.  Its the one time a year when no matter what faith you are, we can all sit down together and God's children.

    Thanks for backstory.   So yay!  To Danny  Thomas is in order as we note some Catholics who made a positive difference.


    FredClaus what a beautiful story if all churches working and worshipping together.   


    We managed similar things our ten years as a small as a small rural church.    Truly IT IS possible.    I say bravo.... and offer a standing ovation.   The fact you do not seek praise is why these churches deserve it.   BRAVO! 



  8. 12 minutes ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:



    I can seriously relate.  There were times in my life where I sat myself down and asked myself basic tings.  Like what I believed.  Not what I was supposed to believe -- but what I really believed.  Of course, we came up with different answers.  I'm amused.  Your journey has a familiar scent to it.  I know that scent.





    Thanks for the “ second” to Rev. Calli’s 

    ...again.... in that process.... following wherever what? ( curiosity) (facts) (inner peace) .... I don’t know the correct word to insert..... what was the motivation (maybe) ...to shift.... was it a long process?   Bolt of lightening knocking you off your horse.... is there a common thread....a define moment?


    Thanks for sharing if you are willing to share it....


    • Like 1
  9. 23 minutes ago, Rev. Calli said:

    Greetings to you my brother,


    One of the things I have become convinced about in my life is that for most, but not all people, acts of heroism and self-sacrifice, when presented with the right circumstances, are an automatic response.  As the Doctor in the great movie and novel, "Mr. Roberts" would say, it is a reflexive action much like the knee-jerk reflex.  


    As to a person developing religious faith, I believe that frankly a lot of it (at least at first in our lives) is conditioned by how we are raised, both by our families of origin and the culture that we grow up in.  A child born of Islamic parents in a culture where Islam is the norm will more than likely be Moslem.  I grew up with Roman Catholic parents in a very Catholic community.  Of course, at least until I reached the age of reason, I was a devout RC.  It wasn't until I began to understand that there were other ways to understand God, and frankly when I began to experience abuse at the hands of a person who I had been taught to revere as a representative of God that I left the faith of my youth.


    This was where free will, as I understand it, kicked in.  I actively wrestled with what I had been taught.  I questioned my beliefs and searched out answers that made sense to me, that resonated with my soul.  And truth to be told has been a continuous process  But I have come to a faith that for me is reasonable, but I do not say that it would be the same for anyone else.  


    In solidarity,

    Rev. Calli

    Hello Rev. Calli!

    Thanks so much.....great to have you add your thoughts!    I think your observations are helpful.


    It is a solid idea (thank you) that we all tend to begin our spiritual  search in ....close approximation to the ideas of our youth/family.


    Too, it makes sense as we “mature” we adapt those ideas....adopting ones in keeping with our emerging world  view.


    As we “put away” or amend our ideas.... we sometimes push hard on our comfort zone.  


    In leaving Catholicism behind.... can you recollect... that process?    Was it a push-pull process making the shift?    Was it just seeing a new idea that was MORE comfortable?    Did it happen so gradually...you don’t have a moment of “change”.... it was just there.... no real moment of choice?


    i think it would be helpful to understand to grasp how a long seated, deep belief is transformed....if you are willing to share that process.... thank you



    • Like 1
  10. 1 hour ago, Dan56 said:


    I suppose that an instinctive response doesn't always require a choice. If I were at a baseball game and through my peripheral vision saw a ball coming at my head, I'd instinctively duck, no time to consider my predicament and make a decision. But I think with most things, where we can assess a matter, a choice is always available, even if its a choice to remain neutral.

    Thanks for meeting me halfway.... 

    I  processing with due diligence....


    • Like 1
  11. 20 minutes ago, Brother Kaman said:

    Yes. Running into a burning building without thinking of the consequences, leaping into the river to save the child, covering the hand grenade with your body are not instinctual responses. If they were instinctual, they would be shared by all of the same individuals of the specie with a only a few exceptions. There are but a few of us that would do such things. Fight, flight or freeze are all choices be they conscious or sub (un)conscious choices.


    My symapthies re technical difficulties.  I am sure the admin folks can and will assist.


    on looking at the bridge collapse in Florida...it seemed as if every person witnessing the event immediately left their car and start forward to help.   It looked like an automatic response.    


    Possibly the instinctual response is more acute in some more than others?


    Thanks for adding a consideration for us to mull over.     You might be right.

    I always associated choice with thinking...processing...concluding..... then choosing.   But I never really studied if that was accurate.     





  12. This just arrived in my email...


    We do not get to choose what we understand (or believe.)

    Much like the old joke; someone can explain it to you but not understand it for you. 


    We get to invest in improving our understanding with time and effort.  We get to search in order to remove doubt. 

    But lack of understanding (or belief) is not a matter of choice. 


    An added thought to the topic currently under review.



  13. 29 minutes ago, mererdog said:

    A more apt analogy would be "I want to get married but I can't, so marriage isn't a choice for me" He said he wants to have faith in his nephew. Perhaps he has even tried and failed. If a thing is impossible to do, is it fair to call it a choice?

    Exactly,   I have tried many times. 


    You captured it nicely.

    Thanks for articulating it so well for me. 



  14. 31 minutes ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:


    An additional thought: When you speak of God doing the choosing; it means  you have already accepted the existence of God -- and defined the God that exists at the same time.  That is, distinct from the God of Deism or Pantheism -- which does not choose.  


    You are further stating that you do no choose -- God chooses for you --  which is a problem in the context of "free will issues".


    As I said -- invisible assumptionsThey can be a mine field.  Once you accept basic premises, it can be hard to argue your way out of them.  





    I can see that (slowly the light is coming on).....but it is a new realm of thinking of me. 

    I am thankful to have additional help ....as I learn a new level of processing. 


    I guess old dogs can learn new tricks.  I am finding I have to look at levels beyond my normal processing in forming decisions in this area.  It like every other skill - requires practice.  


  15. 6 hours ago, Dan56 said:


    I'm just defining choice differently than you.. Wanting to believe your nephew, but choosing not to, is a choice. Your gut feeling about him overrides your desire to believe he's changed, so your decision (choice) is not to believe he's really changed. Having an instinctive response can be the basis of a persons choice too.

    Dan56, thank you for your response.  I have been thinking about your posting and appreciate you made it. 


    As you can imagine (choose to imagine) - my life would be FAR more peaceful if I were to give in and support my sister's contention that my nephew is instantly a decent human being.  If addiction is a choice (taking the drugs might be a choice but the reaction to them is very much NOT much of a conscious decision - it is a biologic chemical reaction as I understand it) - he cannot choose the level of "high" for this dose of an illicit drug.   He is completely out of his mind when higher than a kite and not rational.    Once the addiction gets far enough out of control - the court is not even sure if he is rational enough to know right from wrong. 


    I believe you totally get where I am at on this one.  We might just be talking past one another regarding the process I think I am in with this....I want to give the kid a chance - everyone has tried lots of times.  I want to believe it will be different.   

    Self preservation kicks in and it doesn't feel right.    I am not choosing that feeling.


     I want to choose to ease my sister's pain.  I want to say comforting things.  I want to believe the little screw up finally changed.    But I don't.   I can say I do.  I can say all the right things.   I nod when the experts beat up on me and tell me I am a stubborn old fool.   I even agree that I am stubborn old fool.  ;)    I hear & understand the reasons.   However, there is not choice to be made by me....i instinctually have no reason to engage in this.  My gut is screaming this is a bad idea I am going with my gut till time allows for an informed decision.  My only choice is to wait on a decision.   I am just processing the new info (intake with no output so far.)  Indecision is a decision not wait.  I don't know enough.  That is different than choosing to believe or choosing not to believe.   It is a solid - neutral. I choose neutral if you want to define a choice in this. 


    If that is so - then I am not choosing to NOT believe.   I am also not choosing to believe.   The actual position I am in is not knowing. 

    (different than not caring) (different than stubborn) (different than inept)....etc. 


    Maybe I am afraid of the next round of trouble for everyone I love if we trust this kid    Maybe fear is driving me (not reason.) .  

    If it is fear - I am not choosing fear   I am recognizing fear is running amok in me  :blink:   I am powerless (temporarily) to control the fear.)   And once afraid of something it causes a reaction...but not decisions...maybe.   


    Anger is another feeling - I USUALLY can control.  I can make as many choices as possible to limit the impact.  

    But in the case of justifiable homicide - the court says there are moments when we don't choose - we just respond.


    So I am still working through the idea of instinctive responses being a choice.   


    If I happen upon a burning building with someone about to jump out a window.... or see a child being pulled into a car against their will.  I might well respond to render aid without making a conscious choice.     I know that I am so very limited  (physically) in what I can do.    I do not process the belief I can help...I impulsively move forward as a conditioned response.   I am not choosing it....If I process it - I realized I am pretty useless these days even though I want that not to be the case.   


    When someone jumps on a hand grenade they do not necessarily believe they are going to die - they just respond in the blink of an eye.    The ones that live.... tell us it was not a choice - they just found themselves in motion.....no recognition of a decision to do or not do - it was an action in motion before the brain engaged.    Which incidentally science supports.


    There is evidence that we actually are in motion often without fully finishing our decisions.   Therefore an impulse can direct us before we decide.   


    I am working on it still....the jury is out on this one for a bit longer.  According to you I am choosing not to believe you.  If that is so - then (joking here) - I would contend you are choosing not to accept my point of view.   You can - but you find it wanting and wrong.  Even if you think that :lol: - you have a choice and can control that line of thinking.  You can change that gut reaction... and you can choose to believe I am right. :lol:            


    Joking aside..... I readily admit I don't know and I am trying to figure it out.     I would like to choose me as right.   I simply do not have enough evidence to make that decision.    Yet.  


    So for now I am not idle or lost.  I am pondering and weighing and analyzing.   No decision is not the same as no direction or no reason in play.   I am working on it.    I don't know if I am right or wrong.   Until I know - I don't believe I am right.   I also do not believe you are wrong.   I don't know.    


    No value judgement on either of us.    You might be right.  I might be wrong.  Vice versa.  No belief possible yet.  Not a choice not to believe.  Just a recognition it is a work in progress.    Much like my nephew.   No reason to believe him.   No reason to choose he will or he won't make it.   No conclusion possible this early.    So no belief.    Hope - yes.  But I am not opening my checkbook. THAT is a choice.  Belief is not.  Maybe. 


    Again thanks for your input



  16. 1 minute ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:


    In my opinion -- "not chosen" is a minefield of invisible assumptions.  The presumption is built in, that you want faith.  That having faith is a good thing.


    The classic question, which is put to Agnostics and Atheists, is --- "What would it take for you to believe in God?"


    The answer, with some variation, is also classic.  "I don't know.  God would know what it would take to change my mind.  So far, it has not happened."





    Ah.... glad I threw that out... I was texting with teammate in my Philosophy class.   I see the points you raised.   Good ones.    

    Thx (very much)



  17. 1 hour ago, mererdog said:

    You have stated that you have chosen to believe that George Washington is the first U.S. president. You have stated that you can choose to disbelieve it. The experiment is designed to test these claims. The way to test the claims is to choose differently. So... Choose to believe he isn't the first.


    Don't wait until you are convinced by new evidence. That does not prove choice.

    Don't wait until the belief fits your world-view and gains the ring of truth. That doesn't prove choice.

    Just try to choose to believe that George Washington was not the first U.S. president, despite having no good reason for doing so.

    After a couple of days of playing with this...and getting some egghead friends to join in the attempt... it has certainly opened some pithy and interesting new chatter.   Again I say.... brilliant.   



  18. 7 hours ago, Dan56 said:


    True, faith is not obtained via tangible evidence, which is why it boils down to a choice.. I believe because I've chosen to do so. Evidence is not a necessary ingredient in making a choice, we all make choices everyday without knowing the facts. I could also decide not to believe, that is also a choice.

    We can disagree.  Choosing to act or not act might be a reflex or an instinct or an actual decision.    It is sometimes a tangible choice.   Sometimes an emotional quagmire.   Some times a primordial answer ... distilled and hardwired into our psyche so much so we do not fully understand it.


    I want to believe my loser nephew.   I want to have faith in him.   According to your thinking I can just choose to believe him.   He says he has changed.


    My sister tells me I just do not understand the kid....I am wrong about him...I do not know  him like she does


    The Johnny-come-lately experts give testament to all the reasons my instinctive response should be overcome.    They have statistics and proof I simply am wrong in feeling as I do.   


    At times not making a decision is the right one.   Not every situation require action.   Not does every question needs (or has) a definite answer.   


    Sometimes we just don’t know.    We all learn to live with uncertainty.   No choice can trump a bad choice.


    standing up and admitting you do not know...takes as much courage as those who sit pretend.  


    (I know you truly believe..just to make sure I was not referring to you).... but I do know more than a few pretend to believe ....than  will admit it publicly.   Some of them clergy.   


    They act without faith.  They act without belief.   


    Having faith is not a matter of choice to me.    But I certainly can accept you see the other side of that.








  19. 14 hours ago, Brother Kaman said:

    We were poor when I was a child. I will not go into the details of how poor but if we were in a restaurant (we never did) my momma would have given them anything they asked for but would have died to keep them from stealing it from her or us. Matter of principle she would have said. She always said principles are worth dying for and that was one of hers.

    Gotta admire her conviction and courage! Thx for sharing the recollection.